Columbia man pleads guilty in connection to 800 pounds of stolen marijuana

3 weeks 16 hours 25 minutes ago Wednesday, November 13 2019 Nov 13, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 10:19:32 PM CST November 13, 2019 in News
By: Skyler Rossi, Columbia Missourian

COLUMBIA - A Columbia man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday for his connections to drug trafficking and a 2017 homicide.

Blake Jeffery Johnson, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to a news release from the office of Timothy A. Garrison, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Columbia police found 28-year-old Augustus Roberts dead in his home Dec. 10, 2017, in Columbia’s Old Hawthorne neighborhood, according to previous Missourian reporting. The same night, a U-Haul truck, rented by Johnson and containing around 800 pounds of Roberts’ marijuana, was stolen, according to the news release. Columbia police found the truck Dec. 11, 2017.

Johnson is the fifth person to plead guilty in this case, according to the news release.

Roberts gave Johnson high-grade marijuana and thousands of dollars per month to distribute marijuana, according to the news release.

Co-conspirators brought large amounts of money from drug sales to Johnson’s house in backpacks, which he concealed in drawers and cabinets in his house, according to the release.

The plea agreement states Johnson gave his mother cash to pay his mortgage and car payments and that she deposited the cash into her bank account and used the money to purchase three firearms and a flamethrower, according to the news release.

The case has been investigated by the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Columbia Police Department.

Former Coffee Zone owner Osama Nadir Yanis, 49, of Columbia pleaded guilty in December 2018 to his role in the drug trafficking conspiracy and to possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He has not been sentenced.

His son, Nader Robert Osama Yanis, 24, of Columbia pleaded guilty in January 2019 to conspiracy to distribute at least 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and was sentenced to two years in federal prison without parole in July 2019.

Dylan James Blake, 29, of Columbia pleaded guilty to using a cell phone to facilitate the drug trafficking. He has not been sentenced yet.

Christopher Michael Bradshaw, 26, of Harrisburg, Missouri, also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing 50 kilograms or more of marijuana with the intent to distribute.

A hearing for Johnson’s sentence will be scheduled after an investigation by the United States Probation Office is complete.

Johnson is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole and up to a sentence of life without parole, according to the news release.

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